As of late, many of the “big boys” of 3D printing have seen their stocks take a precipitous plunge. The prevailing wisdom is that even the desktop 3D printing market is over saturated and we’ll be seeing many companies come and go. Someone remarked to me recently that these were the wild west days of 3D printing. That may be so, but it is also a time of wild innovation, and 3D printing is creating a myriad of opportunities for the bold.
And education is a hot topic. Teaching students about CAD and 3D printing will prepare them for the field that will only become more vibrant and have a greater impact on our daily lives. Some of the most exciting applications for 3D printing are in how it is being used make a positive impact in people’s daily lives, like creating prosthetic arms through the e-NABLE program or help to provide clean drinking water in third world countries.
Stratasys is clearly excited about the applications for the technology and fostering the talents of the next generation of innovative thinkers. This year marks the 12th year of their Annual Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge. As previously reported, students of all grade levels from around the world are eligible to enter. As the demand for qualified entry-level engineers, technicians and designers continues to rise, STEM educators are turning to education challenges like Extreme Redesign to engage students and supplement their curriculum. So far, this year’s competition has experienced a 44% increase in student participation and entries represent students from around the globe, including the United States, India, Mexico, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia.
Since its introduction, the Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge has awarded over $140,000 in student scholarships. Challenge topics include ‘Art and Architecture,’ ‘Engineering: Post-Secondary,’ and ‘Engineering: Secondary Education.’ New to this year’s challenge is the addition of a bonus category titled ‘Make a Difference,’ which challenges students to apply their designs to help shape peoples’ lives.
This is a competition that is sure to get STEM educators excited. Educators new to the design challenge often wonder how others leverage the competition in the classroom. In what ways do they inspire students to participate in activities that will test them with some of the STEM-related skills required in today’s workforce?
Dustin Ricci, CADD teacher at Windsor High School in Connecticut, mentored six of his students during last year’s Challenge and offered advice to teachers who are new to the experience.
“My motto in the program is to keep it real. The class had to come up with an original idea inspired by a problem they’ve encountered in their everyday lives,” says Ricci. “Students are way more engaged in the class if they’re working on something that they’re interested in.”
If you’re a student looking interested in engineering, architecture or design this is competition will probably appeal to you. If challenging yourself or gaining exposure isn’t enough of a motivator there’s also the chance of winning up to $2,500 (USD) scholarship prizes, and every entrant will receive a free Extreme Redesign t-shirt. But you’ve got to be quick! There’s just two weeks left to enter the competition! The deadline for entry is February 4th.
Also returning again this year is the 2nd Annual Extreme Redesign Challenge: New England Regional Semi-finals. Hosted by Stratasys reseller AET Labs, New England-based high school students will be recognized and awarded prizes based on their innovation and creativity. The free public event will be hosted at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, March 2.
Last year’s Secondary Education Engineering winner, Thomas Vagnini, and runner-up, Josh Fuller, both of Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School, participated in last year’s semi-finals competition. Both students presented their designs – a 3D-printed, zero-gravity mixer and zero-gravity scale – produced for NASA’s HUNCH program to assist astronauts in outer space.
“Make sure you do something useful and make sure to do something very unique that appeals to you,” says Vagnini.
So what are you waiting for? Crack open those laptops and start drafting! You never know, your awesome design might be the winning entry. You can view the contest rules and enter the competition here. Need some inspiration? Take a look at the for the 2015 Extreme Redesign Challenge and the highlight reel from last year’s semi-finals competition below.